Sauli Niinistö

Sauli Niinistö
12th President of Finland
Assumed office
1 March 2012
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen
Alexander Stubb
Juha Sipilä
Preceded by Tarja Halonen
Speaker of Parliament
In office
24 April 2007  27 April 2011
Preceded by Timo Kalli
Succeeded by Ben Zyskowicz
Minister of Finance
In office
2 February 1996  16 April 2003
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen
Preceded by Iiro Viinanen
Succeeded by Antti Kalliomäki
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
In office
13 April 1995  30 August 2001
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen
Preceded by Pertti Salolainen
Succeeded by Ville Itälä
Minister of Justice
In office
13 April 1995  1 February 1996
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen
Preceded by Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Succeeded by Kari Häkämies
Personal details
Born Sauli Väinämö Niinistö
(1948-08-24) 24 August 1948
Salo, Finland
Political party National Coalition Party
Spouse(s) Marja-Leena Niinistö (1974–1995)
Jenni Haukio (2009–present)
Residence Mäntyniemi
Alma mater University of Turku
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  Finland
Service/branch Finnish Navy
Rank Captain

Sauli Väinämö Niinistö (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsɑuli ˈʋæinæmø ˈniːnistø], born 24 August 1948) is a Finnish politician and the 12th President of Finland, in office since 2012.

A lawyer by education, Niinistö was Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2003 and the National Coalition Party (NCP) candidate in the 2006 presidential election. He served as the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland from 2007 to 2011 and has been the Honorary President of the European People's Party since 2002.

Niinistö was the NCP candidate in the 2012 presidential election, beating Pekka Haavisto of the Green League with 62.6% of the vote in the decisive second round. Niinistö assumed office on 1 March 2012, and is the first president from the National Coalition Party since Juho Kusti Paasikivi, who left office in 1956.


Niinistö was born in Salo in 1948. He ran his own law firm there before entering national politics.

Niinistö served on the municipal council of Salo from 1977 to 1992 and was elected a Member of the Parliament of Finland from the district of Finland Proper in 1987. In 1994 he was chosen to lead the NCP as party chairman and subsequently became Justice Minister in Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen's first cabinet in 1995.[1]

Switching portfolios, Niinistö became Finance Minister in 1996, continuing in Lipponen's second cabinet from 1999 to 2003. In both administrations, Niinistö was Deputy Prime Minister under social democrat Lipponen. As Finance Minister, Niinistö was known for his strict fiscal policy. He was the first Finn to make a purchase with euros on 1 January 2002. Niinistö was urged by his party to stand as a candidate in the 2000 presidential election, but refused. He announced his gradual retirement from politics in 2001, although he has not done so. He was succeeded that year by Ville Itälä as party leader. After the end of his term as a cabinet minister in 2003, Niinistö became vice-chairman of the board of directors at the European Investment Bank.

In March 2005, Niinistö announced his candidacy for the 2006 presidential election. He represented the NCP, challenging the incumbent President Tarja Halonen. He qualified for the second round runoff (as one of the top two candidates in the first round), held on 29 January 2006, but lost to Halonen. The costs of Niinistö's campaign were circa 2,225,000 euros, including 492,864 euros and 717,191 euros contributions from NCP. His financial declaration in 2006 was made more detailed in 2009 because of controversies.[2][3][3]

In 2006, Niinistö announced that he was standing again for the 2007 parliamentary election. He said, however, that he had no plans to take any high-ranking political job such as the prime ministership in the future.[4] He received 60,498 votes in the 2007 elections,[5] a record in a Finnish parliamentary election; it was about 50% more than the earlier record of Hertta Kuusinen.[6] After the 2007 election, Niinistö decided to accept the position of the Speaker of the Parliament. Niinistö negotiated the merger of the European Democrat Union (EDU) into the EPP in 2002 and became its Honorary President.

Niinistö was elected as the president of the Football Association of Finland on 8 November 2009,[7] replacing Pekka Hämäläinen.

Niinistö is supportive of fiscal reforms to plug the country's deficit and make sure it retains its AAA credit rating.[8]

Niinistö was the NCP candidate for a second time in the 2012 presidential election. With 37.0% of the vote, he won the election's first round and faced off against Haavisto of the Green League in the decisive second round.[9] He carried the second round with around 62.6% against Haavisto's 37.4%. Niinistö's margin of victory was larger than that of any previous directly elected president. He won a majority in 14 of 15 electoral districts.[10] Niinistö's election budget was circa 1.2 million euros.[11]

Niinistö pledged to establish a special task force aiming at preventing alienation among the country's youth and expressed concern about the problems of sparsely populated rural areas. Niinistö stressed the significance of mutual understanding with the cabinet and Parliament. His acceptance speech thanked those who backed him in the campaign and those who disagreed with him. Niinistö said that the differing views expressed should be taken into consideration.[12]

Personal life

Niinistö signing autographs in 2006.

Niinistö's first wife, Marja-Leena Niinistö, died in a car crash in 1995.

While a cabinet minister, Niinistö, as a widower, was romantically involved with MP Tanja Karpela, a former beauty queen and later Minister of Culture. Karpela's Centre Party was in opposition and Niinistö was considered the second-most influential man in government. Under close press scrutiny, in 2003 Karpela and Niinistö announced their engagement, which they ended in 2004.

Niinistö later married Jenni Haukio (born 1977) in January 2009.[13]

Niinistö is the uncle of Ville Niinistö, a Green League MP from Turku, leader of the Green League and former Minister of the Environment.[14]

In Finland, Niinistö is known as a survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He escaped the ensuing tsunami by climbing a utility pole with his son Matias in Khao Lak, Thailand.[15] Niinistö is a Christian.[16]

Presidential inauguration 1 March 2012

Foreign policy

Niinistö visited president Putin in Russia as president in February 2013 to promote bilateral trade (e.g. Shell, Cargotec, YIT). He discussed ice hockey and business, but not human rights issues or the selling of Russian military equipment to Syria and its transport through Finland.[17]

At the same time as the sanctions against Russia, mainly caused by the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and Russia's response in Crimea and Western Ukraine,[18] Niinistö said that the focus should be on easing tensions and increasing understanding between Europe and Russia. He stated that Finland should serve as a broker between Russia and Europe. He also stated that “Russia understands that the conflict in Ukraine has generated debate in Finland over this country’s own security policy. It’s important that President Putin understands Finland’s position on NATO membership in this debate. Finland accepts that Russia is working to find a solution to the acute conflict in Ukraine, but it needs to do more.”[19]

The Foreign minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov used a statement of Niinistö in his arguments about future choices for the next Prime Minister of Finland, saying, "'Does Northern Europe need this? How Russia will react?' President Niinistö asked these questions with the subtext. He knows that the answer is negative: nobody needs this,” Lavrov added “President Niinistö realizes that what happened in Ukraine is impossible in Finland.”[20]

In his New Years Speech 2015 Niinistö stated: " We condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea as soon as it happened and then condemned Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine. We have done this in the EU context but have also made this clear in our direct contacts with Russia. We condemn any illegal occupations, illegal use of force or attempts to limit the sovereignty of independent nations. Such actions never achieve anything but danger and increased tension. While power may have once grown out of the barrel of a gun, these days it leads to nothing but chaos."[21]

Sauli Niinistö met with Ali Khamenei on 26 October 2016 in Tehran, Iran.[22]





  1. "Edustajamatrikkeli". Eduskunta.
  2. Sauli Niinistö Vuoden 2006 presidentinvaalin vaalirahoitusilmoitus 30 March 2006, addition 18 September 2009
  3. 1 2 Helsingin Sanomat 17 September 2009 A4
  4. Niinistö Will Not Seek Other High-Ranking Posts | News | YLE Uutiset. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  5. Candidates elected Whole country. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  6. "?People of a special mould"? – Pirkko Kotila. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  7. "Sauli Niinistöstä Palloliiton puheenjohtaja". Football Association of Finland.
  8. "Pro-EU Niinisto wins Finnish presidency". The Chicago Tribune. 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  9. "Presidential elections: Niinistö, Haavisto headed for second round". 22 January 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  10. "Sauli Niinistö is Finland's 12th president". 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  11. Niinistö keräsi toisella kierroksella yli 170 000 euroa – Sauli Niinistö – Politiikka. Retrieved on 2 March 2012.
  12. "Niinistö pledges to fight youth alienation". 5 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  13. "Niinistö yllätti kokoomuslaiset "housut kintuissa"".
  14. Kangasniemi, Sanna (20 February 2009). "Äiti ja isä vihreä". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Ja kun vuonna 2000 tuli aika valita puolue, ei setä Sauli Niinistön kokoomus pärjännyt. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  15. Hämäläinen, Antti (20 September 2007). "Niinistö puhuu nyt tsunamista". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Niinistö lähti Matiaksen kanssa juoksemaan pois rannalta ja he pelastautuivat betoniseen sähkötolppaan sadan metrin päässä rannasta. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  16. "Radio Dei kysyi ehdokkailta Jeesuksesta".
  17. Niinistö och Putin talade Business HBL 13 February 2013 (in Swedish)
  18. U.S., EU to work together on tougher Russia sanctions | Reuters
  19. Russia Warns Sweden and Finland Against NATO Membership | Defense News |
  20. Finland’s Next Prime Minister Backs NATO Membership, Alarming Russia | Atlantic Sentinel
  21. New Years Speech 2015
  22. Saudi killing of Yemeni people worst type of terrorism: Ayatollah Khamenei
  23. Austrian President Heinz Fischer (L) and Finland's President Sauli Niinisto arrive for the Vienna Opera Ball 2016, on February 4, 2016, in Vienna, Austria. Photo
  24. Noblesse et Royautés, State visit of Finland in Denmark, April 2013, photos
  25. Noblesse et Royautés (French), State visit of President of Finland in Norway, Oct. 2012, Photo
  26. State visit of Finland in Sweden 2012, Photo of presidential and royal couples
  27. Vanitatis
Political offices
Preceded by
Pertti Salolainen
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Ville Itälä
Preceded by
Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Kari Häkämies
Preceded by
Iiro Viinanen
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Antti Kalliomäki
Preceded by
Timo Kalli
Speaker of Parliament
Succeeded by
Ben Zyskowicz
Preceded by
Tarja Halonen
President of Finland
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.